Outages, brownouts and power surges


Outages, brownouts and power surges

Energy and water outages and electricity brownouts and power surges are inconvenient and can sometimes cause damage.

Water, electricity and gas outages

Water, electricity and gas can all be subject to outages [PDF, 239 KB] – also known as supply interruptions. Sometimes, these outages are unplanned, caused by unpredictable events like extreme weather, accidents and equipment failure. At other times, companies plan outages so that they can do work on network infrastructure, such as poles, wires or pipes.

When there’s an unplanned outage, companies must provide information about the outage and how long it’s expected to last. Usually, they do this via a 24-hour phone number. Some companies also put information on websites or apps or provide SMS or email updates.

When an outage is planned, companies must give you notice in writing – two days in advance for water companies, four days for electricity companies, and ten days for gas companies.

Power surges and brownouts

Power surges and brownouts, also called voltage variations [PDF, 286 KB], happen when something, like lightning or a tree branch, interferes with an overhead powerline. This can damage your appliances and equipment.

Compensation for damage

If a power surge or brownout causes you damage, you may be able to get compensation. Contact your distribution company and ask for a compensation claim form. You’ll need evidence to support your claim, so keep records such as receipts and photos. EWOV can help if you have a dispute with the company about compensation.

Although outages are inconvenient, distributors and water companies usually don’t offer compensation for them.  However, if you experience many outages or were off-supply for a long time, you might receive an automatic Guaranteed Service Level payment in recognition of poor service.

Read, download and print: simple fact sheets about outages, brownouts and power surges

Information about unauthorised voltage variation, also known as power surge, and the claims process
Information about energy and water supply outages and associated issues

How we've helped others: case studies about outages, brownouts and power surges

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